Roadside emergencies are common in the United States, and they can happen to anyone regardless of the kind of car you drive or how far you are going. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for less-than-ideal situations to come up. A AAA survey found that 40% of motorists do not carry any type of emergency kit in their vehicles. If you are one of those people who do not have an emergency kit here are a few things to start with:
-Small shovel. A small shovel or collapsible one will come in handy if you get stuck in snow or you need to clear a path to drive through.
-Blankets. Grab a couple extra blankets from your house or the store and throw them in your vehicle in case you get stuck or stranded. Temperatures will drop quickly if you are stuck in a car that will not turn on and you will be glad you did.
-First Aid kit. A first aid kit is always a wise thing to have on hand but especially in the wintertime when emergency vehicle response time may be slower during winter weather conditions.
-Flashlight. A flashlight is super handy to have in case you need to change a tire or jump a battery after dark. Sure, you could use the flashlight on your phone but better to save the battery in case you need to call for emergency services or let someone know where you are. Keep a set of extra batteries with the flashlight as well.
-Jumper cable. Most people have jumper cables in their car, but do they know how to use them? Familiarize yourself with how they work so that you do not have to google how to jump a car battery when you are running late for work because you left the light on in your vehicle overnight.
-Spare tire, tire Iron, car jack. Just like with the jumper cables know how to change a tire is almost as important as having the right tools. Often if you have a flat you can call roadside assistance to help but in certain circumstances you might be on your own and it is beneficial to know how to do it yourself.
-Water and non-perishable snacks. If you get stranded in your car and have to wait for assistance, in the wintertime you might be waiting longer than usual, especially if the roads are bad. Storing water and snacks will keep anyone from getting too hangry while you’re waiting. If you have kids be sure to pack something kid friendly as well. Granola bars, crackers, pretzels, even dry cereal are great for leaving in an emergency kit because they store well and are less likely to go bad during fluctuating temperatures. Don’t forget to pack some water as well, especially with your salty non-perishable items.
-Extra windshield wiper fluid. Make sure you have more than enough windshield wiper fluid with you at all times in the winter because keeping your windshield clear is so important when driving in the winter with all the sand and salt on the roads. Make sure your windshield wiper fluid has anti-freeze components to prevent it from freezing.